The state fire marshal’s office has lifted the suspension of firework sales for most of the state except Western Alaska, but the local fire department is urging Fourth of July revelers to refrain from using them at all.
Capital City Fire/Rescue Deputy Fire Marshal Sven Pearson said fireworks pose a fire danger right now due to the dry weather conditions forecasted for the weekend and the fact that there are over 300 active wildfires burning across the state.
“Although the use of fireworks have not been suspended at this time for the City and Borough of Juneau, it is recommended to refrain from using them,” Pearson said in a statement. “Use of consumer fireworks can dramatically increase the risk of fire.”
“Fireworks not only pose a fire danger, but can also cause injuries,” his release read. “Keep a close eye on children when fireworks are used. Even sparklers, which are often regarded as harmless and have been given to small children burn hot enough at 1200 degrees Fahrenheit to cause third-degree burns.”
Pearson recommended Juneau residents simply watch the city-sponsored fireworks show over the Gastineau Channel at midnight on July 3 rather than create their own show.
“The best advice is if you want to see fireworks, attend a public show put on by professionals,” he said.
City ordinances prohibit retailers from selling fireworks in Juneau, but the law allows for salable fireworks to be set off. Dangerous fireworks, as described in state statutes pursuant to state fire safety codes, are not allowed.
One other thing to consider is that setting off fireworks may violate the city’s disturbance of the peace ordinance. Juneau Police Department spokesman Lt. David Campbell said the police will be responding to such noise complaints throughout the holiday weekend, but that police must prioritize the calls that come in based on seriousness.
“JPD will strive to respond to all noise complaint involving fireworks,” he said in a release. “However, if officers are dealing with higher priority calls their response time could be delayed.”
JPD will be out in force patrolling the Independence Day festivities July 3-4 . Lt. David Campbell said the Fourth of July is the police department’s busiest holiday of the year.
“Every JPD officer, from the chief to the newest patrol officer, will be working in some capacity during the holiday weekend,” he said in a release. “Increased enforcement will occur throughout the weekend, with an emphasis placed on the night of July 3rd and July 4th.”
Police will be looking for people breaking the open container laws and patrolling the streets for impaired drivers. Alaska State Troopers said they will be out patrolling the roads as well.
Troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters noted that Alaska Wildlife Troopers will be on the water near Juneau and other Southeast communities, looking for impaired boaters and ensuring fishermen are following state regulations.